Sophie Ellis-Bextor reveals she was raped at the age of 17

·3 min read
Sophie Ellis-Bextor
The pop star is known for hits like Murder On The Dancefloor and Groovejet

Sophie Ellis-Bextor has spoken out about being raped at the age of 17 by an older musician.

Writing in her new memoir, Spinning Plates, the singer says she lost her virginity in the incident at the apartment of a guitarist, who was 29.

"I heard myself saying 'No' and 'I don't want to,'" she writes, "but it didn't make any difference".

"He had sex with me and I felt so ashamed. It was how I lost my virginity and I felt stupid."

She continued: "I felt grubby, but also unsure about my own feelings as I had no other experience to compare it with."

In the book, which is being serialised in the Mail On Sunday, Ellis-Bextor describes how she met the musician - who she calls Jim - at a gig while she was studying for her A-Levels.

He invited her back to his flat to see his history books "and before I knew it we were on his bed and he took off my knickers".

The singer, who is now 42, says she was left confused following the incident as the public perception of rape in the 1990s "was not to do with consent" but rather "something you associated with aggression".

"But no one had pinned me down or shouted at me to make me comply," she says, adding that "the things I saw and read and the way sex was discussed [at the time] made me believe I didn't have a case."

If you have been affected by sexual abuse or violence, help and support is available at BBC Action Line.

According to Rape Crisis England and Wales, this perception still persists - with many victims believing they have no case if there are no physical signs of struggle or assault.

The charity says there "are many reasons why someone might not scream or struggle". In fact, it says, "quietness and stillness might suggest a lack of those crucial elements of freedom and capacity".

Misconceptions like these can make it difficult for survivors to seek help, with many fearing they will not be believed, it adds.

'Not listened to'

Ellis-Bextor says she had decided to share her own experience to help people understand "where the line between right and wrong lies".

"My experience was not violent," she writes in her memoir. "All that happened was I wasn't listened to. Of the two people there, one said yes, the other said no, and the yes person did it anyway.

"The older I've become, the more stark that 29-year-old man ignoring 17-year-old me has seemed."

As the mother of five sons, Ellis-Bextor says she had been careful to introduce them to the concept of consent.

"I want to raise considerate, kind people who can take other people's feelings into account," she writes.

"I want them to actively want the other person to be happy, too, rather than just stopping because they have to."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting